Haunted by death of teens from gun violence, medical student undertakes photo and essay project in trauma bay

By Michael Vitez

Eric Curran holding copy of his story in The New York Times

Eric Curran, like so many medical students, was profoundly upset the first time he saw a teenager die in the trauma bay from gunshot wounds. He felt the world should see and understand. This project that follows was his way of taking action, of doing something about the gun violence. It was a bold, courageous and difficult decision for the leaders at Temple University Hospital to permit Eric, LKSOM class of 2020, to undertake this project, and then to let him share his essay and photos with the world. This is incredibly moving, powerful and necessary work. The New York Times published his essay and photos, which led its website, and thousands of readers responded on Facebook, Twitter and in comments attached to the story. “Mr. Trump, here is your national emergency,” wrote one. “This is the most important column I have seen on the need for gun control,” wrote another. And of course I agree with this one: “Hats off to Eric. He will be a phenomenal doctor.” Be prepared. Both the photos and essays are extremely powerful.


Michael Vitez, winner of the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism at The Philadelphia Inquirer, is the director of narrative medicine at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. Michael.vitez@temple.edu

Stories from Temple’s Narrative Medicine Program

Led by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Vitez, Temple’s Narrative Medicine Program focuses on the human side of medicine through a celebration of and emphasis on stories and storytelling.

    Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

    Written by

    Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. Exceptional students, clinicians and researchers with zeal for education, research and patient care.

    Stories from Temple’s Narrative Medicine Program

    Led by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Vitez, Temple’s Narrative Medicine Program focuses on the human side of medicine through a celebration of and emphasis on stories and storytelling.

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